Top Ten Hot Dogs in Greater Phoenix
The connection between hot dogs and dogs, the lovable tongue-wagging pets, is thought to have come from newspaper cartoons by T.A. Dorgan around the 1900's, which portrayed talking frankfurters, also known as "dachshund sausages," because of their shape. No matter the origin of the name, hot dogs have fast become an American street snack staple. And when it comes to hot dogs in the greater Phoenix area, here's 10 of our favorites. (RIP: Maui Dog.)
10.) Boston Dog from Dave's Dog House His days of slinging dogs as a kid in Boston may be over, but David Cheren, ex-attorney and owner of this tiny joint in the heart of the Arizona State University campus, is still servin' 'em up "New England Style" (with the buns toasted in butter and garlic) in Tempe. Sporting a tasty, top-secret, 100-percent beef frank shipped via the East Coast, this simple and satisfying creation sports onion, mustard, and relish (no flippin' ketchup) on a pleasantly crunchy toasted bun.
9.) The Juaninator from Ivy League Dogs Boiled or grilled hot dogs can be so ho-hum. That's why Derek Pyle, owner of this friendly neighborhood joint in Goodyear, fries his franks (along with nearly everything else on the menu) for belly-bustin' goodness -- like the colossal Juaninator. This meal of a dog sports a quarter-pound, juicy Nathan frank with brown mustard in a poppy seed bun hidden by mounds of tomatoes, pepperoncini, fried and raw onions, sport peppers, green salsa, shredded cheese, bacon, french fries, and chili. Clean your plate and get credit on the board.
8.) The Moki from Short Leash Hot Dogs This mobile hot dog eatery of clever and delicious creations named after the owners' favorite dogs is in high demand wherever it goes, especially when it comes to the Moki. Resting atop a warm naan "bun," the frank (provided by local fave Schreiner's) sits atop roasted green chiles, sauteed onions, fresh tomatoes, pinto beans, cheese, and a hint of mayo for a burst of flavors that will leave tongues (not tails) wagging.
7.) Carolina Dog from Joe's Farm Grill When you get your ingredients right outside your front door (at the Farm at Agritopia), freshness is just part of the package for this gourmet dog available at this eatery and ex-home of owner Joe Johnston in Gilbert. Featuring an all-beef, natural casing grilled frank topped with succulent pulled pork, homemade slaw, and Joe's signature barbecue sauce in a baked-fresh bun sliced top to bottom (all the better to butter and grill), this dog's got delicious written all over it.
6.) Chili Cheese Dog from Rocket Burger and Subs Misty-eyed from coney memories past? This funky North Phoenix fast food joint sports an exceptional chili cheese dog that'll help make new ones. It starts with a Hebrew National beef frank nestled into a soft, fresh bun then loaded up with flavorful chili, cheese, onions -- and if desired, a squirting of mustard. What to wash it down with? How about a selection of over 200 unique kinds of soda.
5.) Oaxacan Dog from Tacos Atoyac This bare-bones taco shop on the city's west side specializes in Oaxacan food from the state of Oaxaca in southwestern Mexico. And while its Oaxacan dog may be less intense than its Sonoran counterpart, it's just as flavorful. With toppings of jalapeños, onion, tomato, avocado, crispy bacon, and a zig-zag of Mexican sour cream heaped atop a wienie nestled into soft bun with the inside coated in a bean spread, this is one dog we're willing to go south, way south, of the border for.
4.) Sonoran-Style Hot Dog from Nogales Hot Dogs For over ten years, Pablo Perez has been serving up one thing at the southwest corner of 20th Street and Indian School Road: Sonoran-style hot dogs. Mesquite-smoked and bacon-wrapped, tucked into a fresh bun, and smothered in beans, mayonnaise, and chopped tomatoes, feel free to load 'em up with additional toppings like guacamole, salsa, and cheese. And Perez's stand is open late into the evening, making it the perfect dog house for night owls.
3.) The Wild Willy from Pittsburgh Willy's For the taste of Pittsburgh by way of the Merchant Square Antique Mall in Chandler, we present the Wild Willy, a glorious gut-buster of a dog courtesy of ex-Pittsburgher Randy Walters. Starting with a quarter-pound, all-beef dog from Nathan's tucked into a sesame bun, chipped ham (a Pittsburgh staple) sauteed in butter is piled on next, with mounds of fresh-grated cheddar cheese to follow for a marvelous mess of deliciousness you'll need a fork to eat.
2.) Chicago Dog from Chicago Hamburger Co. There's a lot of options for Chicago hot dogs in the Valley, but Bob Pappanduros, ex-Chicago hot dog stand worker and owner of this popular Arcadia hangout for over 35 years, understands, to some, they're part of a daily diet. The all-beef frank, courtesy of Chicago's Vienna Beef, is boiled, steamed, then nestled in a poppy seed bun and topped with mustard, relish, onions, pickle, tomato, sport peppers, and celery salt for a delectable taste of a Chicago tradition.
1.) Famous Hot Dog from Ted's Hot Dogs If the constant line at this Tempe hotspot (the only location outside of the company's home state of New York) is any indication of this dog's goodness (don't worry, the service is quick), then biting into its char-broiled, smoky essence should be reason enough to justify its first-place entry. Firm and juicy, it's tucked into a soft potato bun sturdy enough to hold your choice of toppings, including a signature hot sauce that bites back deliciously.
What do you say, frank fans? Got a favorite dog that didn't make the list? Let us know.
All our favorites lists are also available on our Best Of app -- see it in action here.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Phoenix dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.